Sweet Springs' school board discuss salary schedule proposals

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sweet Springs' Board of Education met for its regular meeting Thursday, June 12, to discuss salary schedule proposals.

Mike Staples, a member of the salary committee, presented to the board some suggestions that while the school offers a highly competitive base salary, some steps need to be taken to better retain teachers.

"Our approach, as opposed to putting it on the base, and providing it with people that are new coming into the district was to address the salary schedule, bump up the bachelor's $65 a step to $390, which is on a small-school scale, it's about, I think, the average is about $393," Staples said. "... On the master's scale, we bump it up to $400 per step, as opposed to $325, which is what is now."

Staples said the effect will be those who stay longer will get a larger raise.

"I told Ms. (Donna) Wright (superintendent), we've had this conversation a few times that getting a stable staff, it may be a three- to five-year process," Staples said.

Staples also suggested targeting potential teachers who live in nearby rural areas such as Alma, Waverly and Concordia, to name a few, consider helping them with loan payments and to maybe provide an incentive if that person lives within 10 miles or in the community.

"What we've seen is that people who come here and live, or who are from the area, are more likely to stay," Staples said. "... We feel like these might be positive steps to help stabilize the staff."

However, Wright said that at the time she was talking with the salary committee, she knew the budget would be tight, but the numbers reveal it'll be tighter than she originally thought.

"Our attendance was down, I knew that, I planned for that. I had planned for a decrease in summer school, I had not planned for the decrease that we got," Wright said. "I was not expecting to lose $40,000 at least, because somebody just recorded a lower number than I had before. That's real money, that's money that is gone because our summer school was not up and we needed it.

"... At this point in time, we really don't have any (extra) money to include in the salary schedule, $14,000-$15,000 (maximum), if you don't want to deficit spend on a salary schedule," Wright said. "For me, it's not really viable."

Ultimately with the wealth of information provided to them, the board approved to table the issue until the July meeting to have more time in making a better informed decision.

The board approved closing out the 2013-2014 budget and approved the new 2014-2015 budget, which currently shows no change in the salary schedule. The board also approved increasing lunch prices by 10 cents and extra milk by 5 cents.

In other business, the board approved, with the exception of board member Troy Schroeder, the end of year dates for the 2014-2015 school year, which includes prom on April 25, the senior trip time span of May 1-6 and graduation Friday, May 8.

Austin Boland, Anna Clara Eckhoff and Brandy Klinesmith presented to the board five possible destinations for their senior trip in 2015. The board approved the possible destinations, which includes Clearwater and Orlando in Florida, San Diego, Calif., Savannah and Hilton Head in South Carolina, Seattle, Wash., and Pensacola Beach, Fla.

Lisa Hall, presented to the board asking permission to use the school's softball field and restrooms for a coed summer softball league for the months of June, July and August. The board approved Hall's request with Tim Smith as the liaison and the agreement is contingent on proof of liability coverage for the players involved.

Melanie Schlup, elementary principal, said in her report that the attendance in May was at 96.5 percent and currently 145 students are enrolled in summer school.

David Honeycutt, high school principal, said in his report that the attendance in May was at 94.3 percent and he made a personal statement to the board.

"I would like to thank the Sweet Springs R-VII school board, the administrative team, our community and the entire school staff for helping to make my first year as a Greyhound so positive and memorable for both me and my family," Honeycutt said. "Sweet Springs truly is a great place to work, to learn and to be."

The board also approved 34 items on the consent agenda.

The board then adjourned into executive session and approved to allow Omar Lovercamp, special education teacher, to buy out of his contract for the 2014-2015 school year.

The next regular meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 8.

Contact Jesse Brown at jbrown@marshallnews.com

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